The Boonville Pirates track team will have what head coach Steve Smith calls a great mix for the 2019 season.
With 28 boys in grades 9-12 participating in track this season for the Pirates, 10 of which are returning letterwinners, Smith said he for one is just excited for the weather to break to see how all the events fill out.
“With a great mix of upperclassmen, newcomers and first year kids, I see a very competitive unit,” Smith said. “We have a nice mix of sprinters, mid distance and distance runners. Also, field events should fill out nicely except pole vault. Barring key injuries this team will be fun to watch and compete.”
Going from the North Central Missouri Conference to the Tri-County Conference this season, Smith said the TCC is a very good track conference. He said Blair Oaks, Southern Boone, Osage, Versailles and Eldon all have strong track programs. “I don’t know much about Hallsville,” Smith said. “I know its early, however. I can’t see why we can’t have just as good of a chance as any of the other schools. We just want to get better each week. Our goals are to be in the top three of every meet, we want to be Tri-County champs and we want to get as many kids to state as possible.”
Of course for that all to happen, Smith knows his team has to stay healthy throughout the season. He said another key to the season is having a great practice attitude. He said it will be very important that the coaches get the kids in the right events. “This will take some time with all the new kids running this spring,” Smith said. “Another key will be having two competitive athletes in as many events as possible.”
As for the strengths and weaknesses this season for the Pirates, Smith said the strength comes with numbers and maturity. He said he is also hoping to have a strong group of sprinters, who will make up the horizontal  jumps and spring relays.
“Our distance group is also looking good as a number of the cross-country boys came out this year,” Smith said. “We need more depth, however, to develop in the throws and hurdles.”
As for the weakness, Smith said it’s the unknown right now. However, he said it will be interesting to see how competitive they can be once they start the season.
With a mixture of young and old this season for the Pirates, Smith doesn’t have to worry about junior Tramell Coleman in the sprints or jumping events. Coleman, a two-time sectional qualifier in the long jump and triple jump, returns after turning in a season best of 20’-10 1/4” in the long jump and 40’-8 1/4” in the triple. The junior standout also competed in the 100 and 200-meter dash, where he ran to a season best times of 11.58 and 24.17 seconds, respectively.
Other athletes that will run in the sprints this season are freshmen Tyson Franklin and Treveon Coleman. Smith said he can’t wait to see what Franklin can do in the sprints while Coleman is very fast and athletic. “We will have a number of kids in the sprints,” Smith said. “Raymond Sosa is a great athlete and is back after moving away as a freshman. Fisher Jenkins is out for the first time but is just a sophomore while Gavin Gately and Dennis Swires are both freshmen. I may also look at Landon Weaver in the sprints. He brings leadership and is all business not to mention that he is a great athlete. Jason Waller could also compete in the sprints and middle distance hurdles along with Alejandro Vivas, who is out for the first time.”
In the middle distance events, or the 400 and 800, Smith will look to Nick Ferrari, Marquise Coleman, Aidan Stark, Christian Thomas, Hayden Potter and Weaver. Smith said Ferrari helped wherever he was needed last year and ran a best time of 5:24.95 in the 1600. “I am really hoping that he can take the next step this year, especially in the 800,” Smith said. “Weaver will probably run in the 400 along with Potter, who turned in a time of 54.55 last year. Thomas also ran a 2:30 in the 800 so he will be back for another year along with Brayden McFarland, who turned in a time of 2:32.41.  These kids will also fit into this group that run in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800-meter relays.”
In the long distance events, Smith will look to Charlie Pumel, who ran a season best times of 5:28 in the 1600 and 11:21.68 in the 3200 last year. Other distance runners are Logan Pfeiffer, who competed on the cross-country team, along with Lance Marshall and Dakota Rapp.
In the field events, Smith said both Colemans along with Sosa will compete in both the long and triple jump. Smith said Treveon Coleman had a season best jump of 20’-8” in the long jump last year in the eighth grade.
As for the high jump, Jason Waller returns after jumping 5’-8” last year as a freshman. Smith will also look to Fisher Jenkins and Tyson Franklin in the high jump.
In the 110-meter high hurdles and 300-meter intermediate hurdles, Smith will look to both Waller and Vivas. Waller ran a season best time of 52.27 in the 300 hurdles last year for the Pirates.
Smith will also have a number of throwers in the javelin this season, with junior Nathan Platt leading the way with a season best throw of 127’-8” last year. Others trying out in the javelin are Weaver and junior Garrett Coffey, who threw a season best of 104’-3” in 2018.
As for Smith’s bread and butter, the shot put and discus, the Pirates could have anywhere from 5-6 in the shot and three in the discus. Of course who better to lead the group than senior Brandon Johnson, who finished fourth at sectionals last year in the discus with a toss of 134’-5”. Johnson also threw 43’-10 1/2” in the shot for a personal best.
Other throwers hoping to break the 40 foot mark this season for Boonville are Coffey, who threw 30’-6 1/2” last year, and Alan McCarter  with a season best throw of 37’-5” in 2018.  Sophomore Gaige Offineer and freshmen Braylon Shaw and Cameron Ridgeway will also compete in the shot.
As for the discus, McCarter will return along with Johnson after throwing a season best of 108’-2” along with Offineer.
Smith said as of right now the pole vault is a question mark.
“The relays are all in question at this point,” Smith said. “The sprint group will make up the 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 while the middle distance events will compete in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800.”